Manipulating insect behavior to improve pest management in orchards

New innovations in pest management can be leveraged in tree fruit orchards to manipulate insect behavior and reduce pesticide use.

May 8, 2018 - Author: Maddie Curley

Apples in a basket. Photo courtesy of Michigan Apple Committee.
Apples in a basket. Photo courtesy of Michigan Apple Committee.

Insects view orchards as great places to eat and reproduce. New research has discovered ways to confuse, mislead, or eliminate insect pest problems, resulting in reduced use of insecticides. Growers can use synthetic insect sex pheromones and volatile feeding attractants to influence insect behavior and trick them into a variety of traps.

Growers who attend Michigan State University’s Agriculture Innovation Day: Focus on Fruit and Vegetable Technologies on June 28 at MSU’s Southwest Research and Extension Center in Benton Harbor, Michigan, will be introduced to several new tactics to manipulate insect behavior such as mating disruption, attract and kill, push pull, ghost traps, pyramid traps and drone delivery of sterile moths.

During the afternoon fruit-focused session, New Techniques for Outwitting Insect Pests in Tree Fruit Orchards, MSU tree fruit entomologist Larry Gut, will be discussing the research behind these new techniques and their effectiveness in tree fruit orchards.

“These new pest management innovations are crucial for protecting growers’ bottom line,” Gut said. “We’ve see a significant decrease in insecticides applications and an overall improvement in fruit quality.”

In addition to the the outwitting insect pests session, fruit growers can also attend sessions covering other orchard management strategies including precision tree fruit orchards and stone fruit production, high tunnels for berries and several sessions covering pollinators.  

MSU Agriculture Innovation Day: Focus on Fruit and Vegetable Technologies, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.  June 28 at the MSU Southwest Research and Extension Center in Benton Harbor, Michigan, offers a variety of fruit, vegetable and grape growing technologies, including the latest information on pollinators and equipment. The event has been approved for Restricted Use Pesticide Credits (6 credits) and Certified Crop Advisor CEUs in Integrated Pest Management, Crop Management, Soil and Water Management and Sustainability. For detailed session descriptions, visit http://www.canr.msu.edu/msu_agriculture_innovation_day/  or contact Ron Bates at batesr@msu.edu.

 

Tags: agriculture innovation day, pesticides


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